December nightmares . . .the bleakest Christmas

Just when the whole world is pre-occupied with the traditional holiday shopping and busy finalizing plans for the yuletide season, twenty six families together with their relatives and friends were suddenly thrown into an abysmal situation following a horrifying carnage that on the morning of Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.

The horrendous tragedy that fateful morning was brought about by the sudden outburst of one Adam Lanza who went into a firing spree in a classroom of twenty pupils and six school staffs before ending his own life.

Prior the heinous attack, Adam, 20, first shot his sleeping mom, Nancy, before heading to school armed with a Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon, a Glock 10 millimeter and a Sig Sauer 9 millimeter handgun.

For a better understanding of how powerful these ammunition used in the rampage, let’s give each weapon a bit of scrutiny. A Bushmaster AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle with high capacity magazine while a Glock 10 millimeter is considered one of the most powerful commercially produced pistol cartridges. A Sig Sauer 9 millimeter handgun is a polymer framed pistol (PFP) that could deliver unsurpassed performance, durability, corrosion resistance, and accuracy with 3.86” barrel and 15+1 rounds.

If there’s one person that may be blamed about Adam’s dark behavior, it would be his own mom who would regularly take him to her target shooting sessions. Despite suffering from the autism-related Arperger’s Syndrome, Adam showed full interest in his mom’s favorite hobby.

Nancy Lanza started accumulating guns for protection after her divorce since she and son Adam were living alone.

The young executioner’s mom was an occasional volunteer at Sandy Hook Elementary School where she was a close friend of the school principal. Her fondness for the young kids in grade school might have made Adam feel he was less cared for and less loved.

What could have really made matter worse was when Adam learned that his mom was petitioning the court for conservatorship or choosing another person or organization to be in-charge of him since he cannot take care of himself. Being a troubled kid that Nancy could hardly control and probably couldn’t take care of Adam by herself, the idea of guardianship came into being.

These moves may have fueled Adam’s fury to such extent that he resorted to a killing spree using his mother’s own gun collection, sources allege. The young Lanza had already cut-off ties and communications with his dad, Peter Lanza, a successful finance executive at GE and part owner of NBC Universal.

In 2001, Peter and Nancy separated and finally divorced in 2009 when Adam was 17. They agreed on joint legal custody of Adam and yet, Peter volunteered to pay for Adam’s college, car, and medical insurance.

In 2010, Peter re-married. Since then, Adam refused to see him. Although Peter was fully supporting them, the divorce and his having a new family had a great impact on Adam.

Going back to the dreadful crime scene: Acts of kindness and comforting messages abound in the grief-stricken Fairfield County Connecticut town. A huge community vigil was held every night with an avalanche of toys, flowers, candles, and balloons that adorned the ghostly site while a special post office box has been set up to accommodate all condolence messages and support of any kind. Even the University of Connecticut established a scholarship fund to provide financial aid to the siblings and dependents of the victims. NBC’s “The Voice” finalists gave their own share of support when they went on stage and paid tribute to the 26 victims.

The over-pouring of emotional condolences and comforting hugs were not enough to supplicate the tremendous loss of the lives of 20 innocent children and 6 guiding mentors. The unimaginable tragedy in Sandy Hook Elementary School, which came as a shock to the respective parents who were contentedly occupied with their own daily routines after having dropped off their kids to school, finally bade goodbye to: Noah Poznar (6), Jack Pinto (6), Jessie Lewis (6), Daniel Barden (7), Chase Kowalski (7), James Mattioli (6), Dylan Hockley (6), and Benjamin Wheeler (6), Emilie Parker (6), Grace Audrey McDonnell (7), Catherine Hubbard (6), Olivia Engel (6), Jessica Rekos (6), Ana Marquez Greene (6), Charlotte bacon (6), Josephine Gay (7), Madeleine Hsu (6), Caroline Previdi (6), Avielle Richman (6), and Allison Wyatt (6).

Behavioral Therapist Rachel D’Avino (29), teacher Victoria Soto (27), school principal Dawn Hochsprung (47), school psychiatrist Mary Sherloch, substitute teacher Lauren Rousseau (30), and Anne Marie Murphy (52).

Every young and old who knew about the carnage has now started to live in fear. The unimaginable loss of innocent lives brought unconditional trauma and inevitable nightmare. The twenty grade school children were much too young to say goodbye after just greeting hello to their promising existence.

Incidentally, the tragic event in Sandy Hook Elementary School was similar to what happened in Dunblane, Scotland 17 years ago when the small English village was shattered and suffered the same horrifying passion. Sixteen children, ages 5 and 6, together with their teacher, were mercilessly killed by a heavily armed gunman who later killed himself.

The first half of December has brought about severe emotional pains, not only to those affected by the December Sandy Hook massacre but also to those we personally know whose loved ones have met untimely demise.

Last December 3, Carol Corrales lost her grandmother Coloma Payumo. At the same time, the children of WW II veteran Sir Fred Diaz were mourning over his passing. The following day, December 4, Malou Manansala Mananghaya was grieving over the tragic loss of her hubby Tristan Michael Mananghaya who met a freak accident on the job. PACCAL recording secretary Mae Legaspi is also in mourning following the death of her mother, Mrs. Emma Legaspi, last Dec. 15.

Our kababayans back in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, particularly in Cateel, were hardly hit and extremely damaged by Typhoon Pablo and still groping in the dark. They are surviving only on food rations and charitable donations. The massive devastation caused a huge number of lives and total damage to properties that left nothing but a thin ray of hope for those who still believe in the silver lining to creep from behind the dark clouds.

Just recently, several families were displaced in Paco, Manila after a third-alarm fire gutted down rows of residential houses in the congested neighborhood.

Even the political arena wasn’t spared from the seemingly December curse. Last Dec. 17, Democratic Senator and WW II Veteran Daniel Inouye of Hawaii succumbed to respiratory complications after decades of public service.

And not to forget the still unsettled families who were earlier displaced by Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. They, too, are still at a loss.

After all what they have suffered from their own disheartening situation, how would they be able to celebrate the most festive season of the year?

Surely, this is the bleakest holiday season for those who experienced the tremendous loss of loved ones and properties.

With all the anguish, agony, pain, and mourning, how could one forget these tragedies? One thing is certain though. No amount of Christmas carols and yuletide hymns could ease the pain or cheer them up. Christmas will only aggravate the sorrow and deepen the wounds since there will never be small steps heard running up and down the stairs, no more infectious children’s laughter to fill the room, a family portrait won’t be complete anymore, and a chair will forever be empty and its occupant will terribly be missed especially during Christmas eve dinner and up-coming special occasions.

Yes, this is destiny and we are all born with it, already written and foretold. Everyone has a role to play and a journey to keep. After all the cessations of connections with the physical and material elements, grieving is the most natural human reaction Whatever the cause of death there is, it is His will. And isn’t it that He promised a better life after having dwelt on earth?

And life has to go on as the world continues to turn. Life is a cycle and so is Christmas. Let’s just pray for the eternal repose of the souls of those who left ahead of us and live our lives the way He designed it for us.

Have nothing but only the best during this spirited holiday season. May the coming of the Lord strengthen our faith even more. Happy Holidays!

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